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The Forum Luncheon

Highlighting Advancements in Pediatric Surgery

Community members attending The Forum Luncheon Houston last September got to meet some of the top surgical leaders at Texas Children’s Hospital, and learned about the incredible ways they are making history in pediatric surgery, and hear about their vision for the future of the hospital’s surgical enterprise.

Following lunch and remarks from President and CEO Mark A. Wallace about the steady and rapid growth of Texas Children’s — including the Department of Surgery -– Senior Vice President Mallory Caldwell moderated a panel discussion with Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Charles D. Fraser, Jr., Chief of Otolaryngology Dr. Ellis Arjmand, Chief of Plastic Surgery Dr. Larry Hollier and Chief of Neurosurgery Dr. Howard Weiner.

Caldwell focused on questions that highlighted why Texas Children’s Department of Surgery is bigger, better, faster and stronger than any in the nation, and how the core mission of the department is to have the depth and breadth of expertise to deliver a surgical solution for every child in need of one.

Topics discussed included the importance of outcomes measurement and how that work is approached at Texas Children’s; the fact that Texas Children’s expertise is in treating common illnesses as well as complex, rare conditions; the strength and unique value in the department’s many multidisciplinary teams; and the hospital’s ability to recruit the best and brightest as we continue to grow and strengthen our team.

“When I came down here and learned about what is going on at Texas Children’s and the future trajectory of the organization, I knew I had to be here,” said Dr. Weiner, who recently joined Texas Children’s from New York University where he led a world-renowned neurosurgery program. “The leadership, the can-do attitude, and the drive to grow as a world-class institution providing high-quality, attentive care to all children is very exciting.”

When Texas Children’s Hospital opened its doors in 1954, it did so with the one and only pediatric surgeon in the city of Houston. Today, Texas Children’s Hospital has more than 90 surgeons and is one of the first two hospitals in the U.S. to be verified as a Level I Children’s Surgery Center by the American College of Surgeons.

Texas Children’s surgeons have performed more than 350 heart transplants, making the heart transplant program one of the most experienced and active programs in the nation. They launched an MRI-guided laser ablation surgery — the first of its kind in the world — for epilepsy treatment and also recently performed a 26-hour procedure to separate conjoined twins in one of the most difficult such cases to date.

“Every time we have expanded, it has been successful because we’ve done it for the right reasons,” Dr. Fraser said. “We are filling a specific need.”

The need for quality pediatric surgical care continues to grow and is a factor that convinced hospital leadership to construct a new Legacy Tower, which will allow Texas Children’s to treat even more children who need complex cardiac, critical and surgical care.

“When I came down here and learned about what is going on at Texas Children’s and the future trajectory of the organization, I knew I had to be here.”– Dr. Weiner, Chief of Neurosurgery

When the new building is complete, it will house much-needed pediatric and cardiovascular intensive care beds, as well as new operating rooms with the latest technology. It will also house the new and expanded Heart Center, including the outpatient clinic, cardiovascular operating rooms and catheterization labs.

Ultimately, Wallace said, the expansion will allow Texas Children’s Hospital to continue to provide the best possible family-centered care and best outcomes for the nation’s sickest children who come to us for help.

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